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Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7

Windows 7 offers many improvements over XP and Vista, but the absence of the Quick Launch toolbar isn't one of them. Here's how to get it back.

In a previous TR Dojo Challenge question, I asked TechRepublic members TR Dojo Challenge: How do you enable the Quick Launch toolbar on Windows 7? And several members were quick to answer the call. Here are the steps.

  1. Right click on an empty space on the Windows 7 taskbar and make sure "Lock the taskbar" is NOT checked. This will allow us to move the Quick Launch bar once we reactivate it.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  2. Right click on an empty space on the Windows 7 taskbar and from the resulting Context Menu, click Toolbars and then New Toolbar.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  3. When the New Toolbar - Choose a folder window appears, paste the following path into the location bar:
  4. %appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick LaunchRestore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7

  5. Once you're certain that the path shows AppData | Roaming | Microsoft | Internet Explorer | Quick Launch, click Select Folder.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7The Quick Launch toolbar will now appear on the Windows 7 taskbar, but it will be on the right side of the screen next to the System Tray. Let's move it back to the left side where the toolbar should be.
  6. Click on the left edge (dotted lines) of the new Quick Launch toolbar, and drag it over to the left as far as it will go.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  7. To remove the text labels shown on the Quick Launch toolbar, right-click on the left edge of the toolbar (dotted lines) and from the resulting Context Menu, uncheck both "Show Text and "Show Title. At this point, the Quick Launch toolbar looks like it did in Windows XP and Vista, but it's still on the wrong side of the taskbar.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  8. Click and drag the left edge of the regular Windows taskbar toolbar (dotted lines to the right of the Start button) to the left of the taskbar, over the new Quick Launch toolbar. This will move the main area of the taskbar to the right of your new Quick Launch bar and place the Quick Launch bar next to the Start button. Stop when both toolbars are the size you want.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  9. You can now drag and drop your favorite applications or shortcuts onto the new Quick Launch toolbar and "unpin" the default applications from the regular taskbar.
  10. Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7

  11. Once you finished adding things to the Quick Launch toolbar, right-click a blank space on the taskbar and click "Lock the taskbar".

I also like to enable "Use small icons" under the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties menu.

With the new Quick Launch toolbar in place, no applications "pinned" to the regular taskbar, small icons in use, and the taskbar locked, my Desktop is just the way I like it.

And the TechRepublic swag goes to...

This week's coffee mugs and laptop stickers to ak87, who was first to describe the process through Step 5, robert.johnson2, who provided the first complete answer, and to Samuel Leung, who submitted a well-written answer and links to a YouTube video that demonstrates the process.

Thanks to everyone who submitted an answer.

You can also sign up to receive the latest from the TR Dojo through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

65 comments
pinegroove
pinegroove

I am wondering if a person could use this method of Quick Launch Toolbar in Windows XP Media Edition? I had the "blue e"(Internet Explorer)icon and the "Show Desktop icon" to disappear, they were sitting next to the Start Button. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Jeanette Gonzales Email: jnttgnzls@yahoo.com

terryd64
terryd64

What's the deal? So some people like the QLT what's it to you? SuperBar, QLT, Desktop launcher in the task bar, custom launch folders in the task bar, whatever. REMINDER: The P in P.C. is for Personal, that means choice. If some one wants to revert to the QLT instead of superbar and it makes them more productive, who cares? I myself haven't upgraded to Win 7 yet (I will at the next hardware upgrade cycle) I use QLT on the left for samll apps I often use through out the day, The main task bar has my running apps, and on the right is the desktop launcher, and second custom launch folder. I use these to organize things that I need to get to quickly in 1 or 2 clicks. Stop hating. If you don't want to use the QLT then don't but stop bagging on the people that do. Very useful and informative article that provides users a PERSONAL choice for their PERSONAL computer. Thanks for posting it up Bill.

mbrown
mbrown

What amazes me is how few people use or know about the Quick Launch in Windows XP, MS did a terrible job of making it easy to find and set up. When I show it to users they are extermely happy to finally be able to clean up their desktops (and when I have to help them, I am happy!).

A.C
A.C

To launch a second copy of an app (e.g. a new IE window) try your middle mouse button......

A.C
A.C

I run two tool/task bars in XP, I can't seem to do the same in 7. I've tried ripping off the address part but it just doesn't do the trick... this is a much bigger drop off IMHO than not having the QL bar available by default, at least superbar gives a reasonable alternative to the functionality of the QL bar, it appears multiple taskbars on the other hand, are just a thing of the past.... and before anyone asks, my lower taskbar has QL, "my computer" and the address tools bars, leaving the top task bar with lots of space for tasks and notification icons...

vaor.itt
vaor.itt

Thanks! Great article! I thought the had just eliminated the QL toolbar.

techalon
techalon

What for? The toolbar already functions as QL by pinning applications to it. It amazes me the number of people that don't know the power of the new taskbar and this is not a site devoted to novice users. Apparently plenty of people haven't spent enough time really learning how to use Win7.

ideason88
ideason88

I was just getting frustrated with the super bar yesterday and missed the quick-launch. I am surprised at the response of many that don't like QL or think the new SuperBar is better - it's not better IMHO, it's different and serves a different purpose. I like both, but for some things QL is better. For instance, (and maybe someone will post that this is an option I can turn off) but if you want to "pin" multiple documents from the same program, they will be grouped on the super bar. I have several scripts that I run from QL, that SuperBar groups together, meaning I then have to right-click through the options to get them to run. Place them in QL, one click and it's done. There's still something to be said for a computer that works they you want it, not the way the developer thinks you want it! Thanks Bill!

dmstenhouse
dmstenhouse

Why do you need to bother, win7 taskbar is quick lunch anyway, pointless article

dabruton
dabruton

I like the new Win 7 bar OK but I find it is confusing if I already have an instance of a program open and want to open a new instance. In Win XP, clicking on the quick launch icon would ALWAYS open a new instance. In Win 7, clicking on the task bar icon will not open a new instance unless there is not already an instance running. I seem to notice this most often with Firefox. Sometimes I just want to run a separate instance rather than open a new tab within the current instance. I have not studied it to see if this behavior can be changed or if it is unique to Firefox but I find it annoying. I also always run with the single-click option rather than the double-click option so I am not sure if it is related to that or not. Is anyone else confused by the start a new instance vs. select the current instance behavior of the new bar?

melias
melias

Works well. I missed the QL bar, and do not really like the 'Super' bar.

Underground_In_TN
Underground_In_TN

And I don't understand the desire to restore, much less use, the old Quick Launch toolbar (QLT). The Windows 7 taskbar is a brilliant combination of the old taskbar, in that it gives a handy way to quickly access running programs, and the old QLT, which let you launch your most-used apps and utilities without going through the Start menus or finding their shortcuts on your (usually hidden) desktop. From the Start menu, find the apps you'd want to put on the QLT, right-click it and choose "Pin to Taskbar". The shortcut will now appear permanently on the Taskbar, just like it would on the QLT. Click the icon to launch, right-click to do taskbar things like maximize/minimize, move or close. But did you notice what else you get in the right-click pop-up? Wow, you get a list of the app's Recent Files (or links or whatever). And you can pin or unpin those Recent files so that they always remain in that app-specific pop-up menu. So now apps like Word can have Favorites just like IE. It's so much better than the old Taskbar or Quick Launch Toolbar ever was. For apps you don't access often but still want quicker access to than the Start menu labyrinth, you can pin them to the Start menu, and gain the same powerful app-specific pop-up you get with the Taskbar. MS did a great job with this part of Windows 7.

MarkSpeevak
MarkSpeevak

Right click on a blank part of the task bar, click "toolbars" and go down and click "Quick Launch" so it will have a tick beside it. Then go back and right click again and select "lock the taskbar"

SirWizard
SirWizard

Thanks for making what should be, but unfortunately isn't, an obvious point. Visit any car dealer or fast food establishment to see personal options in abundance. Microsoft designers just don't get it: Forced ribbons instead of toolbars Controls locked onto the right side of Internet Explorer 7 and 8 (away from the other controls) The classic Windows Explorer up-one-folder button available in Windows XP but unobtainable in Windows Vista and Windows 7. And far too many other examples of deprecated choices. Everything in life is about making personal choices. Why can't Microsoft figure this out?!

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

I just had to try that out; thanks for the tip! :)

SirWizard
SirWizard

I tried my middle mouse button on IE8 on my Windows 7 taskbar to see if it would launch an additional instance of IE8. It did nothing. And I keep my middle mouse button specifically configured as a middle mouse button. Any suggestions?

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

I have several programs in quick launch then a few right next to the start button Old Skool style, and a few pinned to the task bar. Then I have some programs pinned to the start menu too. I have things located just where I want 'em. LOL

carlsf
carlsf

We as a business are still only weighing up our options re WIN7 test systems only and they are NOT liked. We are currenly using XP and VISTA (32&64)and the reason we have all systems set to "CLASSIC" is compatability and support (techs dont spend endless hours trying to find what the user has done). We also are using Office 2003 the reason here no one likes or finds the "RIBBON" good it is not fast for users who now what they want. "CLASSIC is faster.

Aakash Shah
Aakash Shah

It is possible to pin multiple documents from the same program: The Win7 taskbar allows you to pin any program, or shortcut to a program to it. Unfortunately, this does not include shortcuts to files. However, you can create a shortcut to a program, and then edit the shortcut properties to add the location of the file. Here are two examples: 1. C:\Windows\System32\mstsc.exe "F:\Remote\SomeComputer.RDP" 2. "C:\Program Files (x86)\Winamp\winamp.exe" "F:\Music\Music.pls" In both instances, the shortcut is basically starting the program and then opening the file as a parameter (just as you would in a script). This is how I worked around this problem. Now I am able to enjoy the Win7 taskbar fully :)

reglohrdt
reglohrdt

It seems start a new instance is available on the Win 7 bar, by right clicking and selecting the app from the context menu. Not as quick as clicking on the old QuickLaunch icon, but once we get used to it the new bar may seem tidier.

silverarrow27
silverarrow27

I agree with you about trying to open a new instance. This is what the new 'super' bar couldn't do especially when it came down to opening more than one instance of IE. Maybe some day I'll come to liking the 'super' bar, but for now I think I'll keep using the QL.

techalon
techalon

I honestly thought this article was totally missing the point of the new taskbar.

mark
mark

For people who run just a handful of applications, pinning favorites to the Taskbar works well enough. (I use that setup on my Media Center system, but all that system has on the Taskbar is Media Center, Firefox, Thunderbird, Second Life, and VLC.) But for those of us who want a larger number of applications readily available (the system I'm using right now has 19 Quick Launch icons and that number will increase over time - this one is new and doesn't have all my developer tools loaded yet!) it just doesn't work. And I've never really liked the conflating of shortcuts and running applications; I didn't like it in the Mac OS X dock and I don't like it in Windows 7.

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

You can unlock the taskbar and pull the quicklaunch to the left. It is exactly the way I had it in XP. I do have a redundancy; I have the show desktop next to the start button and the new Win 7 location on the right end of the taskbar. I use that for peek mostly LOL.

ideason88
ideason88

In case you haven't found it yet, clicking on the arrow in the address bar gives you a quick jump list of all the folders available. Also clicking in the address bar shows the path.

A.C
A.C

To quote from the Tips section of the article "Start a program from the taskbar" in help and support.. "To start a program or open additional instances quickly without opening the Jump List, you can also press Shift and click the program button on the taskbar, or point to the program button and click the wheel button on the mouse" As i haven't done anything other than plug in a couple of various mice (various, but all MS, from a basic optical wheel mouse to a Habu), I couldn't comment on why it wouldn't work, other than saying this is MS, so your mileage may vary.

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

Hello, I liked XP, I even used the classic look option so I could see that familiar old look at things. Vista and Win7 are very much alike in appearance when classic mode is off. I know the value of keeping the work force productive, but I also know some of them will be exposed to the new OS's at home. I guess it depends on the outlook of hardware refresh and what you want out of your hardware and software. I've been doing beta on Office 2010 ultimate plus which gives back some from the ribbon problem; more words less pictures, etc. Office 2010 is in open beta now I believe.

Aakash Shah
Aakash Shah

I'm glad that Windows 7 decided to ditch the "classic mode". If you think about it, _not_ having classic mode actually reduces confusion: your users can only have one layout and the tech doesn't need to figure out which mode the Win7 user is using. Unlike in XP where you had to tell the user to click "Start | Control Panel" or "Start | Settings | Control Panel" depending on whether they are using classic mode. Also, most users have computers at home and most wouldn't know how to switch to classic mode anyways. So, most users would be quite familiar with the newer look, i.e. no classic mode. When we switched from Windows 2000 to Windows XP about 4 years ago, we too were initially concerned that "users wouldn't get it". But, we honestly had about 2 users who initially had questions about the new look. Once we clarified the difference (it took a few minutes), the user was satisfied and went on with their work and had no more problems.

techalon
techalon

Showed exactly the opposite. The ribbon is just as fast as the menu. If you let the ribbon fluster you because you can't adapt then I suppose it's a problem.

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

Hello, I have word pinned to the task bar, I also group all the same instances of word or which ever together. I can hover my mouse cursor over the word icon and see the open documents. I can also right click the pinned program and get a recently opened jump list. I have always used quick launch instead of having to go to desktop to launch things when I want to keep what ever is open on the screen. There are a number of ways to do things like launch a program quickly.

ideason88
ideason88

I tried your suggestion just to see if it would work, for my particular use QL still works most efficiently. Thanks!

jgaskell
jgaskell

Just hold down the Shift key while you click on taskbar icon - a new instance will open. I don't understand why anyone would want to use the old Quick Launch toolbar instead of the far more functional Win 7 taskbar, but each to his own, I guess.

MrRess
MrRess

People could learn so much about their systems if they would just experiment with right-click more.

Tiger-Pa
Tiger-Pa

Techalon, you appear to be awfully narrow minded for someone that is supposed to be a consultant. You should learn to accept the ideas of others and move on. As great as you may be, everyone doesn't want to be you.

techalon
techalon

If you (think) you need that many applications in the taskbar (quicklaunch) then I don't care what sort of developer you are you need to think about what is really needed in the QL or pinned to the taskbar. I don't exactly just use my system to read email, browse the web and play Solitaire.

techalon
techalon

Is your system incapable of using the smaller icons option? Or is it that you insist on using a monitor with 800 x 600 resolution still? Realistically what you're doing is just being stubborn from moving forward with a better taskbar because you don't to adapt to something that is actually better. How do I know? Because I was reluctant back in early beta and then I got smart. The reality is it works far better than the old taskbar with the QL toolbar.

SirWizard
SirWizard

That's very important and useful to know. Thank you very much!

Aakash Shah
Aakash Shah

The keyboard shortcut to go "up" one folder is Alt+Up arrow key. Backspace and Alt+Left arrow key continue to offer the "back" option.

ideason88
ideason88

I have never understood Microsoft's strategy for improvement - strip away the old and good and proven and replace it with something new and different. However, the backspace key seems to offer similar function as the old up folder, as it works even when the "back" button is greyed out. Maybe someone will dig out the trick to restore the Up Folder button from the registry!

SirWizard
SirWizard

I already knew about these tips, but thank you for offering them. Be assured the rest of this is not directed to your kind suggestions, but toward Microsoft. Which is BOTH easier and quicker? Search through a well-populated folder list or nest to reach the parent folder. This requires at least two clicks, and often quite a bit of scrolling and reading. Single-click my XP Up folder button, which brings me immediately to where I want to go. A double-click brings me two levels up if that's where I'd like to go. If I want to go to a different child of a parent or grandparent folder, it's available without expanding the jump list. It's nice to have the jump list, but why not retain availability of the simple Up button, which had long ago been designed, debugged, and well used?!

SirWizard
SirWizard

My Microsoft Office programs (Word, Outlook, and Excel) and Internet Explorer 8 resist these methods. Other programs, including Windows Explorer, do open new instances as described. Thanks for the details.

SirWizard
SirWizard

I think I follow your arguments against enabling a Classic Mode. They cover two distinct notions: 1. Your users are too ignorant or stupid to use their computers knowledgably or have opinions about the interface, thus they don't deserve to have customization options. 2. You and other support staff are (or should be) too lazy to write or describe the longer (uniform) details for reaching desired commands; for example, how to access the Control Panel. Thus, users should endure an interface that robs them of screen real estate, while providing visual obtrusiveness that a classic mode might otherwise obviate. Professionally, I've performed plenty of tech support, written user manuals, and taught software classes, and yes, some of the persons I supported were barely chimps on keyboards. But others were very bright and capable. They spurned visual glitz and oversized interface elements in favor of usability and the wider compass of a compact and calmly sedate O/S visage. New UI elements may be suitable for many or even most users, but what about the many others who would find a classic interface to be more effective and compelling, myself included?! For example, in Windows 7, the new Libraries feature is probably useful to disorganized (or even typical) users, but they are an obtrusive impediment and waste of time for me. I store and find my files best within my highly organized folder structure. Why must I always have a library offered as a primary choice for file storage in cases where I already have a suitable specific location defined? Microsoft would like all users to be identical so no options would ever be necessary, but individuals have different preferences, and especially, find different interfaces to be more effective and efficient. So, don't laud my lack of choices. I'd really like a Classic Mode available for MY Windows 7 installation.

SirWizard
SirWizard

Perhaps I am unhelpable. Perhaps I don't need help, for with Office 2003, I get along like gangbusters (to turn an old phrase.) Techalon, thanks for reading, even if you think (correctly) that I'm a curmudgeonly loon. I'm also just the guy who had to help coworkers when they couldn't get Office 2007 to do their bidding despite their best efforts and the supplied 2003 to 2007 command maps. The company had switched entirely to Office 2007 (against IT's recommendation) allowing me to be the sole 2003 user, as long as I released documents in 2007 formats only. Months of attempted adaptation, but help-me emails persist. Of course, the help was never for novice level things; rather it was for getting sections to behave in old documents, adjusting a color PowerPoint master to print well in grayscale, intractable spacing issues in spreadsheets, automatic insertion of non-blank verso pages on Word chapters that otherwise would end on a recto page, and the like. Again, don't waste your time and effort on me. I'd try to listen, but probably wouldn't hear you. Try to reclaim some more worthy soul, and have a nice holiday season.

techalon
techalon

So I shall not waste my time.

SirWizard
SirWizard

Okay, if your group is happy and at least as productive with the Ribbon, that's fine. But the snide accusation that a user can't adapt simply because the Ribbon flusters him wins my comments about the Ribbon in return. One must consider the time (and effort) required to click among Ribbon elements to obtain document information in Office 2007 that is always displayed in Office 2003. For example, the font, pagination, section, and other text status are always visible in Word 2003, but some information is hidden from view except while performing specific editing operations in Word 2007. And that's just to start. Perhaps the audience for your study contained wimpy users who do little more than apply bold formatting to a few words or sum a column in a spreadsheet. For power users who actually use a substantial portion of Microsoft Office capabilities and especially those who customize the interface with built-in or macro commands, the Ribbon is mainly an effective tool for acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome from mouse-clicking, even when the user knows where within the Ribbon the very limited set of available commands reside. To adapt to the Ribbon does not entail learning to use a different, albeit superior (or just equally effective) tool. It's more like adapting to a steel hook to replace the crippling loss of a hand. Let's review my own use of Office 2003 with an eye toward adapting to Office 2007. My two rows of customized Word 2003 toolbars (currently 151 buttons) contain nearly any command that I ever use, and I use most of them frequently, at a single-click level. Built-in commands such as restarting numbering, condensing a font by one tenth of a point, inserting a caption, accessing the pop-up thesaurus (not the less usable sidebar version), toggling a paragraph-page-break-before format, toggling AutoCorrect between straight and curly quotes, or setting the number of columns in a section take me only one click each. Similarly, with one click I can apply any of 22 styles or 8 fonts or run macros to paste text of any format as unformatted text, create a listing of styles in my document (all, custom only, or built-in only), or clear unneeded trailing blank characters. Yet, my two-row interface is arranged according to my logic, not Microsoft's, taking up much less screen real-estate than the Ribbon, and mine still has room for another 38 or so buttons. My two rows of Excel 2003 toolbars, currently with a mere 82 buttons, but expansion room for more than 100 more without going to three rows, enable me to perform a great many tasks with a single click. Using only built-in buttons, I can set the vertical alignment within cells, apply diagonal cell borders (do your usability subjects even know diagonal borders exist?), unmerge previously merged cells, or insert or delete rows or columns at will (with my custom color-coded icons to easily distinguish between the insert and delete buttons.) So, please help me. I want to improve my productivity. I'm too stupid to see how the Office 2007 Ribbon will enable me to accomplish my varied tasks faster and with fewer mouse clicks. Help me to adapt to absurd command groupings in a crippled, screen real-estate robbing, uncustomizable interface.

dcoxh
dcoxh

This combined with the rt click on the app in the taskbar is sweet! Thanks

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

Oh my, I've really got things messed up then. I use the quick launch and pin a few things to the (super)task bar. :D

techalon
techalon

The narrowmindedness exists in those that constantly fight against something new because they cannot adapt. Being so fixated on they way you did something for 10 years previously is the definition of narrowminded and I'm not the one stuck there.

jbaviera
jbaviera

Obviously you didn't stop to think about what you said! Isn't it possible that Mark DOES have is system set to a higher resolution, or that maybe a lower res. is better for the applications that he uses on a daily basis? I for one have tried the "magnifier", it's more of a pain to use than having the monitor res. set a little lower. Isn't it also possible to that space MIGHT BE LIMITED, and that a larger monitor isn't an option? I too, tried Win7 beta, and I wasn't that impressed, but it did two things that MEp2 couldn't: It DID start up faster, and it actually shut down when I told it to! Nothing else impressed me enough to shell out the money for 7. Your comments do remind me of another "IT Pro", that told us once that an older salesman that worked at his company would use windows explorer to find the "little used" documents on his old PC. The "IT Pro" told him that he didn't need to use windows explorer any more now that he had VISTA, all he had to do was use the "new" search feature to find his documents, and therefore, "locked out" windows explorer from him.(Sometimes one doesn't remember the file name, but you might recognize it if you see it!) Just because it's new, or, works for YOU, doesn't mean that it's good for everybody!